LET the CHRISTMAS MESSAGE ring
out WHILE you still CAN
Michael Nazir Ali
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER
A leading CHURCHMAN tells how
the CAMPAIGN to abolish the CELEBRATION of CHRISTMAS threatens BRITAIN'S
very IDENTITY as a NATION.
EVERY DAY THIS MONTH-Cathedrals-Churches-and School Halls
have been packed with people wanting to hear the CHRISTMAS STORY and to
Yet there are some in WHITEHALL and TOWN
HALL, in SCHOOL and SHOP and OFFICE, who want to write CHRIST out of
I passed a charity shop window the other
day which had the popular carol
The Holly and The Ivy
pasted up but all the verses about Christ
and salvation he brings had been carefully and precicely REMOVED.
In the run up to Christmas, we have been provided with
amounting evidence that CHRISTMAS is being MARGINALISED.
Reputable opinion polls have discovered
that a significant number of schools are reluctant to stage NATIVITY
PLAYS or to sing CAROLS, and employers are shying away from CHRISTMAS
decorations at the workplace
The Chancellor himself. had to plead with a
Government-funded network of playgroups to allow the children to have
Some have seen in this a conspiracy by hard-nosed
secularists who want to erase every remaining acknowledgement of
religion from the public sphere. Others have thought it was just
well-meaning officials wanting to be fair to all.
Lat us be clear that this has nothing to
do with people of other faiths. One of our local radio stations tried to
find a single person opposed to the
CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS.
-and failed to do so.
On the whole, people of other faiths are keen that
Christians should celebrate Christmas.
We know also, from the sheer numbers of
people coming through our church doors, that this has NOTHING to do with
So, are we back to the conspiracy theory then?
It is certainly true that there is a relatively small
-who would like to see CHRISTMAS made a
ALTHOUGH, in absolute terms, their numbers are small,
they have had a disproportionate influence on legislation and on the
life of the nation in the past 40 years or so.
That have created assumptions about
that lie behind, for example, the
This could mean, among other things, that employers and
schools are reluctant to have public
CELEBRATIONS OF CHRISTMAS.
-because it could be seen as discriminatory against
non-Christians and leave THEM OPEN TO LITIGATION.
It is often said that the Health and Safety people are
the real government of the day and it appears their meticulous concern
for our well-being has also had a dampening effect on the
CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS.
-through thoughtless BUREAUCRACY
and the desire to be
Christians celebrate Christmas because
they want to give thanks for the coming of Jesus Christ, the greatest
gift ever received by Humanity.
Down the ages , hundreds of millions have
been inspired by his life , moved by his suffering, death and
resurrection, and guided by his comparable teachings. He marks a turning
point in HISTORY (still remembered-albeit politically incorrectly -when
we date events BC or AD.)
Without the guiding influence of the Christian faith it
is impossible to think of Britain as a Nation. We owe our ideas of
MONARCHY and the RULE OF LAW to IT,
not to mention our commitment to
-have all developed under the CHRISTIAN
The long tradition of welfare provision and the struggles
SLAVERY and POVERTY
-would be unimaginable without it.
It is true, of course, that Christian
FAITH and VALUES
-do not simply endorse all that is going
on in our culture. In fact , they can and do serve as a critique to
THE FAILURE OF COMPASSION
-and the tendency to be
SELFISH and GREEDY.
The Enlightenment, when it came in the 17th and 18th
Centuries, certainly sought to prevent conflict being waged in the name
(though as usual, political and economic factors were
HOWEVER, the Enlightenment's most
important themes, such as the inherent dignity of each human being the
fundamental equality of all, the primacy of conscience and the
importance of an ordered society were all derived from
If all this is true, who are the people who wish to
consign Christianity to the privacy of the
HOME and the CHURCH?
Could it be those who are committed to weakening the
MARRIAGE and the FAMILY
-which hold society TOGETHER?
What about those who call for ABORTION more or less on
demand and, similarly, EUTHANASIA?
Or is it those who have forgotten that Adam Smith's
economic vision was undergirded by the moral vision of
COMPASSSION and ALTRUISM?
however they may be, we are treading on treacherous
ground. Along with the rest of the world, Britain is again faced with
the challenge of a
-one which also -
rightly or wrongly-claims to be rooted in a RELIGIOUS
If BRITAIN is to DEFEND its VALUES successfully, it must
-in which these VALUES are ultimately ROOTED.
So what has all this to do with CHRISTMAS?
The marginalising of Christmas is hugely
symbolic of what has happened in the Nation's LIFE.
As Matthew Arnold saw so vividly in his famous poem Dover
-has been retreating for a long time, leaving darkness
and barbarism behind.
If the Christian Faith is not to
(never coerce) us, what will?
WILL IT BE ISLAMISM
or perhaps, another
IDEOLOGY STILL TO BE BORN?
WE HAVE A STARK CHOICE BEFORE US BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND AN
EMPTY WINTER FESTIVAL
-that fails even to evoke the PAGANISM it aspires TO.
GOD knows how often we have let down the vision of JESUS,
neglecting the VIRTUES of
SACRIFICE that springs from CHRISTIAN
We know that the VALUES of INHERENT
and of safety arise out of the
and we ignore this
at our physical, social and international
There is little time to lose if Britain is to survive. I
do not make a plea for a return of
I want us to affirm the connection
between CHRISTMAS in the PUBLIC square and thise enduring truths that
lie at the
HEART of a NATION'S LIFE.
The CHURCHES important work TO DO if this CONNECTION IS
TO BE MADE.
They cannot, at this time, succumb to
the SPIRIT of the AGE. Nor should they be SILENT when it is TIME TO
This is definitely NOT the
It is the AUTHENTIC
It is a CALL to enter more deeply into
OUR TRADITION so that we can better understand the SOURCE and GROUND of
ALL WE HOLD DEAR.
I PRAY FERVENTLY THAT IT IS
NOT TOO LATE.!
[Font altered-Bolding &underlining used
-Comments in brackets]
THE PEOPLE HAVE
SPOKEN-IS THE EU COMMISSION LISTENING?
Ditch the EU
TREATY after IRISH REJECTION
[Daily Mail-Wednesday, June
MORE THAN HALF of voters believe Britain should
drop the controversial European Treaty in the wake of its
rejection in last week's
The poll comes as the Tories launch a last-ditch
bid in the
HOUSE of LORDS
today to delay the
have signed a
within the past few days
, calling on the
NOT TO RATIFY THE BILL
[WHY DON'T YOU?]